By UBNOW staff
Published June 21, 2021
Seven faculty and staff members from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are among the 21 from the University at Buffalo who have been named recipients of the 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
The Chancellor’s Awards acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.
Gang Wu, professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Jun Zhuang, professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. The award recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities.
Marina Tsianou, associate professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award honors those who consistently demonstrate superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level.
Victor Paquet, professor and chair, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, which recognizes “the consistently superior service contributions of teaching faculty” sustained over a period of time.
The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service honors professional staff performance excellence “both within and beyond the position.” Recipients are Bin Chen, research administrator, Department of Electrical Engineering, Cheryl Michalowski, director of administration, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Lisa Stephens, assistant dean for digital education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Bin Chen is described by departmental colleagues as “a key feature of the research infrastructure — absolutely essential in the operation of a successful R1 university.” As a research administrator in the Department of Electrical Engineering, she is responsible for managing research proposal pre-submission, budget preparation and editorial support; providing support to all department research initiatives; interfacing with faculty and funding agencies; and conducting post-award administration, which includes purchases, reimbursements, appointments and the grants management.
A UB employee since 2013, Chen plays an important role in recruiting and retaining faculty, providing much of their on-the-job training regarding the administration of sponsored research. She also has a good rapport with students, many of whom she works with through their appointments on the Research Foundation payroll.
Praised for her hard work, intelligence, integrity and professionalism, Chen also has taken on leadership and tasks far outside her job description and department, serving on numerous search committees for financial and sponsored research staff positions across the university.
Colleagues call Chen “the ultimate team player” who contributes to a wide array of departmental projects, among them K-12 outreach events, faculty recruitment and seminar speaking engagements.
Colleagues call Cheryl Michalowski “instrumental in the outstanding growth and success” of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
After working at the SUNY Research Foundation for 16 years, Michalowski joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering shortly after its founding in 2009. As the first professional staff member in a department that needed to be built from the ground up, Michalowski handled all aspects of departmental operations for two years, included scheduling new faculty interviews and new courses, handling finances and helping submit documentation for the new graduate program. In addition, she helped train and supervise a technician, and supervised and trained the academic coordinator after initially serving in that role as well.
As Director of Administration, Michalowski continues to be responsible for departmental budgets and personnel matters, including faculty tenure and promotion dossiers. She supervises a team of two other staff members, both of whom she helped hire and train; manages student recruitment events; serves as webmaster for the department’s website; and organizes and assembles the department’s newsletter.
Colleagues say she manages multiple priorities, solves problems efficiently and handles all of these duties with diligence and attention to detail.
Michalowski is also heavily involved in the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s STEM outreach efforts for K-12 students, developing a BME lesson for third-grade charter school students who came to UB for STEM camps — a lesson that continues to be used by UB undergraduates during outreach to schools. This effort, combined with her overall excellent performance and commitment to BME, were key factors in the school awarding her the 2018 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service.
Victor Paquet’s list of university-wide volunteer and service activities is extensive.
They include, but are not limited to, serving as director of UB’s Center for Excellence in Home Health and Well-Being through Adaptive Smart Environments, as a member of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Standing Committee for Academic Integrity, and as a member of the UB Academic Continuity Graduate and Professional Subcommittee on Modified In-Person Instruction.
He also has provided expert leadership and managerial skills in various capacities in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, including in the role of sexual harassment prevention adviser. As department chair, he is focused on fostering successful leadership and innovative research, encouraging different learning styles and working with industry, community partners and alumni.
An accomplished scholar, Paquet researches the development and application of systems that improve the health, safety and abilities of people in the workplace, home and other environments. Most of this work has focused on addressing the needs of people with physical disabilities.
His work has received funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, as well as from private industry.
Additionally, Paquet has played a key role in UB’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, and has devoted time to professional activities that have helped advance ergonomics research and practice in particular, and the industrial engineering profession as a whole.
Recognized nationally for her leadership in educational technology issues, Lisa Stephens is a senior strategist of academic innovation in the Office of the SUNY Provost, in addition to her position as assistant dean for digital education in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Stephens serves as the lead for SUNY’s partnership with Coursera, the online platform that now hosts 57 courses and nine specializations from 12 SUNY campuses. So far, over 238,500 students have completed SUNY classes on Coursera and more than 1,640,000 students are currently enrolled.
She is also interim director and co-founder of FLEXspace™, an open-access repository for best practices and learning environments that now supports 5,000 registered users from 1,400 unique educational institutions from 67 countries. In addition, she is co-founder of the Collective for Academic Innovation and Transformation (CAIT), a subgroup of the Leading Academic Change program supported by the Gates Foundation.
She remains a co-chair of the Innovative Instruction Research Council, and co-chair of UB’s Faculty Senate Teaching and Learning Committee, as well as adjunct associate professor in UB’s Department of Communication.
But colleagues note that with all of the technological advancements that Stephens has coordinated and implemented over the years, her primary concern is student success. She is praised for her commitment to students and focus on pedagogy, “rather than on the latest software or gadget.”
Recognized for the quality, effectiveness and inclusiveness of her instruction, Marina Tsianou, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has developed and taught a wide range of courses — from required classes to popular electives corresponding with her research in molecularly engineered nanomaterials.
Her lab has provided research training and mentoring to eight doctoral, 35 master’s, and 40 undergraduate students, including several underrepresented students. Students call her an inspiring teacher, dedicated adviser and mentor who always shows genuine concern for her students.
For the past 10 years, she has presented workshops designed to attract girls to STEM fields at the Tech Savvy conference, an annual event organized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). For several years, Tsianou served as the faculty adviser for UB’s student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). In 2014, she was one of the founding members of UB’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program.
In 2010, undergraduate engineering students named Tsianou Professor of the Year. Five years later, her peers recognized her with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Senior Teacher Award.
In concert with her teaching, Tsianou and her students have published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and delivered over 130 presentations at scientific meetings. Her scholarship has garnered more than a dozen research grants, and she has held several elected leadership roles in AIChE.
Tsianou’s service includes several terms on the UB Faculty Senate, UB Curriculum Committee and the SUNY University Faculty Senate committees on Ethics and Institutional Integrity, and Black Lives Matter.
A professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Gang Wu is an electrochemist whose research has far-reaching implications for the development of sustainable and clean-energy technology.
His research focuses on finding sustainable and economical substitutions to platinum group metal catalysts in the electrochemical reactions responsible for clean-energy technology. This work, which has led to nine patents and patent applications, includes significant breakthroughs that have been recognized by high-profile journals, media outlets and other scholars in the field.
Wu was named one of Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers for 2018, 2019 and 2020. His more than 250 publications — 150 of which were completed in his roughly six years at UB — has more than 28,000 citations.
He has received over $5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Energy.
UB awarded Wu the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Early Career Researcher Award in 2017, the SEAS Senior Researcher Award in 2019 and the Exceptional Scholar – Sustained Achievement Award in 2020.
Wu has served as associate editor of the journal RSC Advances and as an editorial board member for the journals, Scientific Reports and ChemistrySelect. He has also served as a reviewer for more than 1,000 manuscripts in renowned journals, and as a panelist and proposal reviewer for multiple organizations and government agencies.
Additionally, Wu has mentored 17 undergraduate students, 23 master’s students, 11 PhD students and five postdoctoral associates. These mentees received awards such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
A professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Jun Zhuang is an internationally renowned scholar whose research has made advancements in homeland security, disaster relief and other areas.
Zhuang’s research integrates a handful of fields – operations research, big data analytics, game theory, decision analysis – to create data-driven models that help decision makers mitigate risks, often during times of crisis or disaster. Examples include how to best allocate resources, how to manage misinformation, and how to create functional partnerships among disparate organizations.
He has examined efficient pre-travel security screening, border security and, more recently, the need for a more resilient medical supply chain, as highlighted by the nation’s COVID-19 response. He also has focused on fire risk management, sustainability measures, architecture and transportation.
Zhuang has been a principal investigator of over 30 research grants funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and National Fire Protection Association.
His publications include 116 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 conference papers, nine book chapters, six edited books and journal special issues, and six technical reports.
Zhuang has mentored over 150 students and professionals ranging from high school students to visiting scholars. For these efforts, Zhuang received the 2020 UB Teaching Innovation Award, the 2019-2020 UB Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award, the 2019 UB Student Engagement’s Exemplary Faculty/Staff Mentor Award, as well as the 2012 UB President Emeritus and Mrs. Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring.